Our first 2 pieces on Atlanta Braves Roster Talk can be found here:
While I don’t read too much into wins and losses in Spring Training, when discussing the last 4-5 roster spots on a 26-man roster, a superb outing or 2, especially for a relief pitcher, can truly make the difference in a roster spot. I remember back in 2010, Jonny Venters was invited to big league camp after back to back subpar years as a starter in the Braves system. It took one look in camp for Bobby Cox to see what he needed out of Venters, and as they say, the rest is history.
In my opinion, as far as relief pitchers are concerned, there are a few guys that have looked remarkable and have likely boosted their chances to receive an Opening Day nod.
Atlanta Braves Roster Talk: The Locks
Due to time constraints, I’m back to riding solo in this exercise, but feel free to let me know if you think my choices are boneheaded. While the outfield and bench might end up getting tweaked a bit via trade or release, I’m going to assume for now that everyone that’s here will stay here.
Catcher: Travis d’Arnaud
1st Baseman: Freddie Freeman
2nd Baseman: Ozzie Albies
Shortstop: Dansby Swanson
Left Field: Marcell Ozuna
Center Field: Ender Inciarte
Right Field: Ronald Acuña Jr.
Lock, but role undetermined: Sean Newcomb
TOTAL LOCKS: 21
Braves Roster Talk: 4th & 5th Starting Pitchers
While Cole Hamels is back in camp, he still hasn’t been released to throw and is at least another week away from making that jump. His timetable still suggests a late April return.
- Sean Newcomb– 75%
- Bryse Wilson-25%
- Felix Hernandez-50%
- Kyle Wright-25%
- Tucker Davidson-13%
- Phil Pfeifer– 4%
- Touki Toussaint– 4%
- Ian Anderson– 4%
Breakdown: Felix obviously helped his case in his first go-around with 2 solid innings of work, that may or may not have been related to focusing more on offspeed and command. We’ll see in his next start.
Bryse Wilson by default gets a 25% chance as he’s going to get a lot of chances to prove/disprove himself. A reminder that while he got shelled, he was also throwing all offspeed to try to continue to develop 2 new-ish pitches.
Kyle Wright also gets thrown in here at 25% and I simply cannot wait to see him in Spring.
Braves Roster Talk: Reliever(s)
*Reminder that if Newcomb makes the team as a starter, his vacancy will create 2 spots needed in the bullpen.
- Sean Newcomb-25%
- Bryse Wilson– 10%
- Kyle Wright– 10%
- Felix Hernandez– 10%
- Tucker Davidson- 15%
- Phil Pfeifer-10%
- Touki Toussaint-5%
- Patrick Weigel– 15%
- Grant Dayton– 10%
- Jasseel De La Cruz-10%
- A.J. Minter– 10%
- Chad Sobotka– 10%
- Jeremy Walker– 10%
- Jacob Webb– 10%
- Huascar Ynoa–5%
- Chris Nunn– 5%
- Josh Tomlin- 30%
Breakdown: Both Weigel and Davidson get significant jumps here as both pitchers could be used in multi-innings and both had outstanding first outings. Pfeifer gets a bump as well as he also has the ability to throw multiple innings. An added plus, his quick work to the plate made the game feel like it was put into hyperdrive, and players and managers eat that crap up.
Starting 3rd Baseman
This is the one in which it feels like nothing has changed, although Riley has had some hard hit balls, made a good play at 3B, and discussed his work in the offseason.
- Johan Camargo: 53%
- Austin Riley: 47%
Breakdown: I still think Riley has to have a near perfect spring to grab the spot, and he’s saying all the right things and looking revamped at the plate so he just might do it, but Camargo “BSOHL” still gets the nod.
Bench Bats (1)
- Johan Camargo– (should he not be starting 3B) 100%
I still fully believe that Camargo and Riley can coexist on this team only if Riley is the regular starter and Camargo goes back to super-subbing, therefore I had to divide this into separate scenarios.
Thanks for reading this piece on our Atlanta Braves Roster Talk #3. If you enjoyed this piece, check out our piece from a few days back on Braves Non-Roster Invitees!